American Home Mortgage Servicing deemed 'high performing' by Fitch
Fitch Ratings assigned proficient and high performance ratings to various mortgage servicing segments operating under the umbrella of American Home Mortgage Servicing. The solid ratings reflect Fitch's view that AHMSI has consistently invested in technology, servicing processes, staff, training, technology and loss mitigation tools that when combined support "a scalable servicing platform." Fitch said, "However, during the review period, AHMSI’s internal and regulation AB (Reg AB) audits resulted in several high- and medium-risk findings. Subsequent to the completion of Fitch’s review, AHMSI received its 2010 Reg AB report, which showed no material instances of noncompliance. Additionally, the company continues to work to resolve differences in its test of expected cash reconciliation," Fitch said. In terms of actual ratings, Fitch rated AHMSI's primary servicing operations as 'RPS2' for prime, Alt-A and second lien products, while its subprime product and special servicing segment received ratings of 'RPS3+' and 'RSS2,' respectively. Based on Fitch's servicer ratings any products rated in these ranges are classified as either "demonstrating proficiency in overall servicing ability" or demonstrating high performance in overall servicing ability." The mortgage servicing platform, which is owned by equity funds that operate under the umbrella of WL Ross & Co. LLC, has offices in Coppell, TX; Irvine, Calif.; and Jacksonville, Fla. The Ross firm bought the mortgage servicing rights out of the American Home Mortgage bankruptcy in 2007. Fitch said AHMSI still is challenged to improve processes internally, season new management team members and maintain a consistent servicing performance in a tumultuous marketplace. AHMSI's stable ratings come just six months after Fitch assigned a negative outlook for the residential mortgage servicing sector on fears that procedural defects in the foreclosure process could challenge firms in the future. On Thursday, Fitch wrote that "responses to Fitch’s recent survey of its rated servicers regarding internal procedures used to verify and execute foreclosure affidavits indicate that all servicers are taking this matter seriously and are continuing to work to resolve any issues uncovered." Fitch added that it "may place an individual servicer’s ratings on rating watch negative and/or downgrade the ratings if the servicer does not diligently and timely review its processes and take immediate corrective action to remediate any foreclosure action or documentation failures." Write to: Kerri Panchuk.